Dressing Up

This past weekend Dana and I followed our friends Mike and Becca to Falmouth on Cape Cod for the Harborside Music Festival; we sold Fire Cider and enjoyed the music, they silk screened tee shirts to go, you don’t see that everyday!

Mike silk screening tee shirts for his nephews, the ones they were wearing!

As part of our four days on the road, we drove to Springfield where we went to another Big E meeting; we are going to be exhibiting at the Massachusetts building for sure, we just have to figure out the dates.  From Springfield we went to Boston and got a chance to get out on the water, it helps when your sister is a sailing instructor!

Captain Elise with Dana, showing off her skills and the coolest Coast Guard approved P.F.D.’s

From Boston we drove to Cape Cod for the Festival and then back home to Pittsfield.  Dana and I were fairly well prepared as far as food goes but had to rely on some local grocery stores from time to time.  It is definitely more challenging getting enough green veggies to eat while on the road.  One of my favorite things to do is buy a box of spinach, slice up an avocado and add dressing- my kind of fast food.  We forgot to bring salad dressing so decided to buy some Annie’s Goddess dressing.  This used to be my favorite but I haven’t bought any in a long time.  You know me, I hardly ever buy something I can make myself so I was kinda looking forward to this but it was…disappointing.  Homemade is the way to go.  Not only because it tastes better but it’s fresher, has no ‘natural flavors’ or other mysterious ingredients in it and is way more cost effective.  So, here are some salad dressing ideas you can make in just a few minutes and have on hand for days.

Fresh Herb Dressing

I have been making variations of this all summer since we have lots and lots of parsley, basil and cilantro in our garden. Herbs are so easy to grow, they just need a sunny windowsill and some water.  Grow your own and skip the high priced packaged bundles in the store.

Chop up a handful or more of your choice of herb, feel free to mix them up too!

Use a ratio of 3 to 1 Olive oil to vinegar, Apple Cider Vinegar if you are on a strict Candida elimination diet, otherwise red wine vinegar is a good choice.

Add salt to taste, a mashed clove of garlic (this will help preserve the dressing if you want to save some for later in the week) and pepper, black or red hot, to taste.

Mix well, use a wand blender if you want a smoother, emulsified dressing.  Taste and add more of the above ingredients until the dressing is flavored to your liking.

Basil Balsamic

Olive oil, balsamic vinegar, chopped basil, parsley, a pinch of dried or fresh oregano and garlic.  Salt to taste. Hot pepper optional.

Creamy Tahini Dressing

Start with a couple of heaping spoonfuls of Tahini (sesame seed butter) and mix with some sesame oil or olive oil.

Add apple cider vinegar and salt to taste.

Add your choice of one of the following combinations:

1. chopped cilantro, lime juice, chipolte pepper

2. minced ginger, chopped parsley, mashed garlic clove

Fire Cider Dressing

Mix 3 to 1 Olive oil to Fire Cider, salt to taste, a couple teaspoons of spicy Dijon mustard and mix well to emulsify.  Add a mashed clove of garlic for extra health booting properties!

Exciting Updates on Farming and Fire Cider

Dana and I met Jen Morse at the Handmade Holiday Festival last December.  She asked me about our Fire Cider and what our plans were.  It wasn’t long before we were talking about our farm dream and our search for affordable land in Berkshire County.  Jen immediately invited us to come out to the farm she and her husband own; a family horse farm that goes back several generations called Green Meads Farm.

The fence is finished, time to start planning the garden.

During our first visit to their farm, Jen and Jeff offered us some space in their garden, they were planning on expanding it anyway.  This is what I love about native Berkshireites, their generosity and understanding of real community.  We helped them put up the new fencing and as soon as that project was done we started in on the planting.  Well, first there was the weeding and raking and the laying out of beds and the manure hauling, shoveling and distributing and then the planting.  It was all very gratifying work that will eventually reward us with delicious healthy food.

Jen's chickens enjoying the leftover grain from Dana's last batch of homebrew.

Then there’s the old farm down the road.  Jeff mentioned one day in early spring that his neighbor was looking to sell his family farm and told us to stop by on our way back to Pittsfield.  We did, and now, two months later we are watching our first commercial crops coming up in one of their fields.  Dana and I are also in the process of working out a rent to own deal with the current owners.  We may be farm owners, with the help of our friends and family, as soon as this fall, so very exciting!

Last week Fire Cider was approved by the state health inspector and is officially a legal and safe product (but we already knew that!), ready for stores as soon as our newest batch matures.  We have two 55 gallon drums of organic apple cider vinegar and a pending order for a ton of produce from Albert’s Organics. We will be making an appearance at Wilco’s Solid Sound Festival Saturday June 25th in North Adams, so come out and see us at the open air market. We’ll be handing out free samples and selling bottles of Fire Cider!